‘That’s how you want to start policing this?’; Cardinals manager on pitcher’s impounded hat

MLB

CHICAGO – Tommy Edman hit two home runs, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Chicago White Sox 4-0 to avoid a three-game sweep Wednesday. But the game will be remembered for the umpiring crew’s decision to confiscate the cap of St. Louis reliever Giovanny Gallegos.

In the seventh inning, Gallegos came in to relieve Genesis Cabrera, when second base umpire Dan Bellino pointed out something with Gallegos’ hat to Crew Chief Joe West. Manager Mike Shildt came out to the mound and was ejected, due to what West later said was over the language used. With a new hat, Gallegos stayed in the game.

“I decided to make him remove the hat so that he doesn’t do anything with an illegal substance on his hat, West told pool reporter, Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat, after the game. “We didn’t let him put himself in jeopardy. We did that as a defensive mechanism for everybody. We want the players to play the game, we don’t want anybody to be accused of cheating or any of that stuff. So it was smarter to just remove the cap than to let him pitch and have somebody come out and complain.”

After the game, Shildt said he didn’t fault the umpires. “It’s part of their job to police the game, I’m not challenging that.” But Shildt said there’s a difference between what Shildt described as “Baseball’s dirty little secret,” which for decades has involved pitchers using sunscreen or rosin to get a better grip on the ball, and the modern-day cheating where pitchers use a specially designed substance to improve spin rates. He spoke for more than five minutes about the episode and then took more questions from reporters.

“Is our house 100 percent clean? I hope so,” Shildt said.

“You want to police some sunscreen and rosin? Go ahead. Get every single person in this league. … Why don’t you start with the guys that are cheating with some stuff that’s really impacting the game?”

Following his postgame comments, the Cardinals issued a statement from Shildt reading:

“I have a great working relationship with the umpires and Major League Baseball. They have a lot of challenges to doing their job and they do it well. Having to police foreign substances, candidly, shouldn’t have to be part of their job.”

When asked if the team will have to make any changes moving forward, Shildt told reporters “The DeWitts will have to get us more hats.”

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